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Quick Smoke: Davidoff Colorado Claro Short Perfecto

18 Oct 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”IMG_3778 - Version 2San-Lotano-Oval-Conn-sq

Davidoff Colorado

This could be the poster child for total cigar enjoyment. From an immaculate Ecuadorian Colorado Claro wrapper rolled around the finely tapered body, to the mouth-watering sweet pre-light aroma and flavors that entice from beginning to end, this little stick is built to please. The tastes are complex, the strength medium to full, construction excellent, and satisfaction immense. Praised by my colleague in a 2010 review that awarded the diminutive Davidoff a rare five-stogie rating, it’s still an incredible smoke—well worth its $14 price tag when you want to reward yourself.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Cigar Review: Cohiba Nicaragua N50

14 Oct 2014

Two things stand out immediately about the new Cohiba Nicaragua from General Cigar. The first is, despite the name, this is not a Nicaraguan puro. The second is it’s expensive.cohiba-nic-sq

cohiba-nicThe line extension should be showing up now on retailer shelves. I smoked samples provided by the manufacturer, a 5-pack of the “N50″ robusto size (5 x 50) that is sold in tubes with an MSRP of $12.99. Online prices appear to be roughly 20 percent cheaper for the box of 8.

The name is intended to signify that this is General’s first Cohiba blended and rolled in Nicaragua, the country that continues its red-hot status in the cigar world. While the filler and binder are from Nicaragua, the wrapper is a Colorado Oscuro from Honduras. That may account for another prominent feature: The Cohiba Nicaragua doesn’t really exhibit any pepper, an often defining taste of stronger Nicaraguan cigars. It’s a darker, deeper smoke with the earthy tone common with Honduran tobacco. Other flavors like coffee bean, dry cocoa, and an occasional sweetness are also present, though not always well-balanced.

The cigars are beautiful, with wrappers that are clean and smooth. Unfortunately, I experienced construction problems in two of the three I sampled, though they were major in only one. The second one I smoked needed several relights, probably exacerbated by my conscious effort to smoke slowly.

The third Cohiba Nicaragua was plagued by tunnels severe enough to cause significant difficulties with the burn and smoke production. In all honestly, though, I’m more inclined to attribute these problems to the pre-release timing of the smokes than flaws in General’s quality control.

I would put the strength in the medium category, not near the level of powerhouses from, say, My Father Cigars or Joya de Nicaragua.

I have a feeling this cigar will improve with age, marrying more of that earthy Honduran wrapper with the Nicaraguan filler. I’ll hang on to the remaining pair and smoke one about six months from now, and the other in a year or so. I’ll let you know what I find via Quick Smokes.

If you try this cigar and agree with my aging assessment, here’s a tip: Consider letting your B&M age them for you. Keep an eye on them when they arrive. They may not sell out quickly, and may linger on the shelves long enough for you to pick up aged smokes.

I think the Cohiba Nicaragua will appeal to a limited number of smokers, partly because of the price and partly because of the flavor profile. I’d recommend picking one up if it sounds like it’s up your alley. I give the Cohiba Nicaragua N50 three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Quesada Oktoberfest Das Boot

11 Oct 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

The fourth annual Oktoberfest limited edition from Quesada sports a new band and, for my taste, displays the best flavors yet. I’m a confirmed Oktoberfest fan—rating it highly last year and in 2012. This year’s Dominican puro shows a bit more spice and an added graham cracker sweetness. Das Boot (6 x 52) is a toro you shouldn’t miss.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: N/A

Cigar Review: JFR XT 654

8 Oct 2014

JFRIntroduced at this summer’s industry trade show, the JFR XT was designed as an addition capable of providing “added strength and body” to Casa Fernandez’s regular JFR line.

That the blenders succeeded is evident from the nice peppery start. The XT is, by no means, a powerhouse, but rather a medium- to full-bodied Nicaraguan puro that’s a pleasure to smoke.

The Corojo wrapper is smooth and has a warm, roasted nut pre-light aroma. The XT isn’t particularly complex, though flavor shifts a bit as the pepper dies down after the first half inch or so. Then there’s a pleasant rich tobacco taste and enough punch to keep it interesting.

I had three samples provided by Casa Fernandez and found them remarkably consistent. Construction is absolutely top-notch, with a straight burn, good draw, and tons of smoke.

The XT is a lightly box-pressed smoke with an untrimmed wrapper that’s folded over the foot, which is covered by an identifying foot band. The head sports a little pigtail. They are rolled at the Casa Fernandez factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The MSRP is a reasonable $6.92. Two other large ring gauge sizes are available: 6 x 60 ($7.30) and 7 x 70 ($8.80). Maduros with a Mexican wrapper are sized the same and cost a few cents more. All are packed in boxes of 24.

The XT is slated to hit retailer shelves this month, according to the company. I’d recommend this as a good choice for someone who’s been smoking milder cigars and wants to try a stronger smoke. Those who have a regular rotation that includes more powerful cigars should also give it a try to see whether it might find a slot.

I rate the JFR XT 654 a solid three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: Smoking Older (Cigars)

23 Sep 2014

aging-cigars-rack

With the recent announcement about General Cigar acquiring Toraño’s brands, it seemed like the perfect time to light up the oldest cigar in my humidor: an Exodus 1959 Silver Edition Churchill from 2005.

I didn’t set out to age it. It’s just a remnant from a box I bought shortly after we moved to Florida that I never got around to smoking. There may even be one or two more that I just haven’t run across. Though I enjoyed the Silver a lot, it—like a lot of other smokes—simply fell off my radar as newer cigars came along.

So, how was it? What did all that time do?

Well, as I so often end up with aged cigars, I’m not really sure. Obviously, I like the line. Back in 2006, I gave another Silver vitola four stogies. I liked this one, too. I just cannot say with any certainty that age had a lot to do with it.

I don’t recall enough details from smoking it before to make a legitimate comparison. That’s my biggest problem with long-term aging. I’m not disciplined or detail-oriented enough to do it properly.

In this case, the one thing that stood out was the Criollo wrapper’s pre-light aroma, a warm mesquite fragrance I don’t remember. Otherwise, I can’t say how much difference there was in the mild- to medium-strength and the flavors.

Another cigar I smoked recently had experienced considerably less aging, so it’s easier for me to gauge the impact of time. I have about a third of a box of Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Toros (6 x 54) coming up on a year of age. I smoked several shortly after buying the box, then occasionally. It has been a few months since I last had one of the Broadleaf-wrapped cigars. As with the Toraño Silver, I like the Reserva from My Father, having awarded it a nearly perfect rating in 2010.

The year of aging seems to have served it well, smoothing out any hints of harshness without reducing the power and melding the flavors into a terrific balance. In short, a great experience.

In this case, the humidor time did improve the cigar. Now, if I could just develop enough self-discipline to age more cigars the right way, perhaps I’d have more great smokes.

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7

20 Sep 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

The latest in Viaje’s White Label Project—which releases cigars that, for one reason or another, wouldn’t otherwise get marketed—is a Nicaraguan puro petite lancero (6 x 40) that absolutely hits the spot. Opening with a strong pepper blast, the $8.32 cigar shifts in the second third to flavors of earth, leather, and sweetness. Then the pepper comes back into the mix in the final third as the sweetness drops away. Excellent construction, smoke production, draw, and burn. With a run of only 300 bundles, keep your eyes peeled.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: N/A

Quick Smoke: La Palina Goldie Laguito Especial

13 Sep 2014

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

On a recent trip, I was surprised to spot this limited edition on a cigar store shelf. Naturally, I couldn’t resist, even at $19. Goldie has achieved something of a cult status since La Palina released the first edition 2012. I never had that one, or the Goldie that came out in 2013. If they were as tasty and elegant as this one, I understand all the praise. This lancero-shaped (7 x 40) smoke is, simply, wonderful—from the fantail head to the long ashes as it burns. If you can find one of the 25,000 that were released, don’t miss it.

Verdict = Buy.

-George E

photo credit: N/A